While you may feel tempted to just hit “Play” on the DVD player and call it a day, most children appreciate fun party games rather than spectator activities. If you feel daunted by organizing games for a group, set up stations with different activities that guests can rotate through or choose. Your guests will remember the kids’ party games long after the party has ended.
Active party games may include Duck Duck Goose or stomping on balloons tied around each others’ ankles. Outdoor running games, such as relay races and doing obstacle courses, work well at parks and playgrounds. Traditional party games include hitting a pinata, passing around a ball or balloon for Hot Potato, and painting faces. Some quieter party games include charades, 20 Questions and Statues.
Fun party games often have an interesting or humorous twist. In Baby I Love You, a leader tries to get players to laugh or smile by doing various antics. Players must say, “Baby, I love you, but you just cannot make me smile,” while keeping a serious expression. In Freeze Dance, a leader plays music while guests dance and move around. When the leader stops the music, everyone must freeze. The first person to move becomes the new leader.
One of the best ways to make an everyday game feel like a festive party game is by leading it in a spirited, positive way. Rather than dwelling on rules or keeping score, shake up the game by spraying a hose on children as they play tag or tossing balloons into a ball game. Refrain from calling children out and just move them to another team.
Thematic games make a party feel more cohesive. You can turn many basic games into thematic games. At a pirate party, for example, play Pin the Eye Patch on the Pirate. At a fairy party, have children make glittery wands that they use during Tinkerbell Says, a version of Simon Says.
Preschool party games like the Hokey Pokey, Doggy Doggy Where’s Your Bone, Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar and Musical Chairs only last about five or 10 minutes. Party games for primary grade children, such as Freeze Tag, Hide and Seek and a scavenger hunt, may last up to 20 minutes. Tweens and teens have the capacity to stick with a more complex game, such as Risk or a murder mystery, for more than an hour.
- Outdoor game of draughts/checkers image by Scott Latham from Fotolia.com